Modern technology might not have taken its cue directly from the Winnebago, but it has taken the idea of efficiency to new levels. Getting multiple uses out of a single product is what defines the devices and gadgets that are so commonplace today. Sometimes though, as in a home theatre receiver, convenience and efficiency come at the expense of performance.
Most people are happy to accept less clutter and lower cost with their home theatre system, as long as it provides a high-quality entertainment experience. But audiophiles aren’t most people. For the discerning ear, the typical A/V (audio/video) receiver – also known as the home theatre receiver – goes too far in trying to combine more into less.
A/V receivers perform a variety of functions in one relatively small package, so you can imagine that, at times, the power demand can be too overwhelming to handle without making some operating sacrifices. These receivers are a staple of low- to mid-range home theatres, but they won’t typically deliver the peak performance that true audio enthusiasts want.
Getting to the next level requires a system that uses separates, or stand-alone components. Here, your audio system would contain a preamplifier (also known as pre-amp processor or simply a processor) and a power amplifier (also known as an amplifier or multi-channel amplifier), instead of just the receiver which would be performing double duty.
The preamplifier, as the name suggests, goes to work before you hear the result. It decodes surround sound that has been encoded on DVDs and Blu-rays by sound engineers, which provides a clearer signal to be amplified later. A power amplifier, meanwhile, takes the signal – unencumbered by the typical electrical interference – and does the heavy lifting of sending powerful sound through the system’s speakers.
Not everyone can realize the full benefit of a separate system; the biggest difference is usually evident in larger spaces, where an A/V receiver’s power amplifier, the muscle of the system, can leave the preamplifier underpowered when trying to deliver high-volume sound.
Our choice for amplifiers is Anthem. For more than 2 decades they have produced award-winning products revered by amateur audiophiles and leaders in the music & entertainment industries, alike. And better yet, they’re Canadian!!
In getting to know you and your needs, the staff at Oakville Sight & Sound can help you make an informed decision about receivers and separates. Visit www.oakvillesightandsound.ca for more information.